[ {"id":"9f5ecd66-c5df-55d0-9ccb-b07ed144c115","type":"article","starttime":"1490853600","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-30T01:00:00-05:00","sections":[{"dana-milbank":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/dana-milbank"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Milbank: This is what you get, Mr. Speaker","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/dana-milbank/article_9f5ecd66-c5df-55d0-9ccb-b07ed144c115.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/dana-milbank/milbank-this-is-what-you-get-mr-speaker/article_9f5ecd66-c5df-55d0-9ccb-b07ed144c115.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/dana-milbank/milbank-this-is-what-you-get-mr-speaker/article_9f5ecd66-c5df-55d0-9ccb-b07ed144c115.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Dana Milbank","prologue":"This, Mr. Speaker, is what you get for embracing Donald Trump. When Paul Ryan, after a long Hamlet routine, decided to get behind Trump last year, he took a calculated risk that the erratic presidential candidate could become a vessel for the conservative policies the House speaker long aspired to implement. Instead, Ryan has become an enabler of Trump's chaotic and ethically challenged governance.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["donald trump","politics","institutes","devin nunes","paul ryan","house gop","caucus","white house","kevin mccarthy"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"45b2105c-3164-5b98-8c28-5b842b8737d2","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"600","height":"502","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/5b/45b2105c-3164-5b98-8c28-5b842b8737d2/572a61075f82d.image.jpg?resize=600%2C502"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"83","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/5b/45b2105c-3164-5b98-8c28-5b842b8737d2/567c4bf4ed4a2.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"251","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/5b/45b2105c-3164-5b98-8c28-5b842b8737d2/572a61075f82d.image.jpg?resize=300%2C251"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"857","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/5b/45b2105c-3164-5b98-8c28-5b842b8737d2/572a61075f82d.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"9f5ecd66-c5df-55d0-9ccb-b07ed144c115","body":"

This, Mr. Speaker, is what you get for embracing Donald Trump.

When Paul Ryan, after a long Hamlet routine, decided to get behind Trump last year, he took a calculated risk that the erratic presidential candidate could become a vessel for the conservative policies the House speaker long aspired to implement. Instead, Ryan has become an enabler of Trump's chaotic and ethically challenged governance.

Trump gave Ryan little help in the House GOP's effort to replace Obamacare, and when that project collapsed last week in the biggest legislative failure in more than a decade, Trump included Ryan in those he blamed. Trump tweeted a plug for a Fox News show hours before the host made an on-air call for Ryan to resign.

Ryan, meanwhile, finds himself shielding Trump from an investigation into Trump's and his top advisers' ties to Russia. Ryan stands by the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, who canceled a public hearing that could have embarrassed Trump after the White House stated its objection; went on a secret trip to White House grounds to gather what he considered exculpatory material and then released it publicly while keeping fellow committee members in the dark; and quarreled with the FBI for investigating Trump's Russia ties.

Ryan now finds himself tethered to a president with a 36 percent approval rating, while the House's legislative and investigative functions have collapsed. And Trump is talking about bypassing House conservatives and working with Democrats.

\"I have talked about the need to go from being an opposition party to being a proposition party and a governing party,\" Ryan told reporters after the House GOP caucus's health-bill postmortem Tuesday morning. Chuckling, he added: \"It may take a little bit more time.\"

Ryan approached the microphones with exaggerated good cheer, voicing a hearty \"Hey, guys!\" and attempting to josh with photographers about the days of Polaroid cameras. Ryan assured everybody the GOP meeting was \"very, very good,\" and his deputies dutifully echoed him.

Caucus Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers pronounced herself \"very optimistic,\" Majority Whip Steve Scalise found matters \"very encouraging,\" and Kevin McCarthy, the perpetually tongue-tied majority leader, declared: \"We had a very good conference, a conference that from a microcosm, people on all sides.\"

But this, er, microcosm of confidence could not withstand scrutiny.

NBC's Kasie Hunt asked if Nunes should recuse himself and whether Ryan knows the source Nunes met at the White House.

\"No, and no,\" Ryan replied, without elaborating.

PBS' Lisa Desjardins asked when Ryan expected to return to health care legislation.

\"I'm not going to put a timeline on it,\" he answered.

And that was about all the exposure Ryan's aides were willing for him to risk. \"Last question!\" one of them shouted from the back of the room.

You can see why Ryan would be inclined to go to ground. A self-styled policy wonk and anti-poverty conservative in the model of Jack Kemp, Ryan put his name behind a bill that would have denied 24 million people health insurance and given tax cuts to the rich.

GOP lawmakers emerging from the caucus meeting didn't quite share their leaders' buoyancy. \"This was more of a listening session, shall we say, than a progress session,\" reported Greg Walden of Oregon, one of the authors of the failed bill.

Trent Franks of Arizona said the caucus faced a \"tremendous conundrum,\" stuck between what his colleagues want and what can get through the Senate.

And Florida's Brian Mast put things in perspective with a funereal reference: \"Another day over the dirt -- that's how you do it.\"

Suddenly, there was a commotion in the Capitol basement. \"Here comes Nunes!\" And there he was: the Trump ally and member of Trump's transition leadership who is using his chairmanship of the intelligence panel, which had enjoyed a reputation for bipartisanship, to shield the president. He has even tried to justify Trump's groundless claim that President Barack Obama put a wiretap on Trump Tower.

Journalists pursued him through the Capitol's bowels and then through the tunnel underneath Independence Avenue, pressing him on the canceled hearing and clandestine White House meeting. Nunes kept complaining:

\"You guys always interview me.\"

\"How many questions are you going to ask?\"

\"There's like 20 questions every day.\"

\"Are you just going to keep asking the same question?\"

(Answer: Yes, until they get answers.)

And, while questions are being asked, here's one the speaker might pose to himself: If he knew back then what his embrace of Trump would get him -- a legislative shipwreck, a caucus in disarray and congressional oversight reduced to farce -- would he have made the same choice?

"}, {"id":"94ee0590-b49e-5de2-8ee1-774ca970c48f","type":"article","starttime":"1490853600","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-30T01:00:00-05:00","sections":[{"guest":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Thomas: The congressmen and the counselor","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/article_94ee0590-b49e-5de2-8ee1-774ca970c48f.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/thomas-the-congressmen-and-the-counselor/article_94ee0590-b49e-5de2-8ee1-774ca970c48f.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/thomas-the-congressmen-and-the-counselor/article_94ee0590-b49e-5de2-8ee1-774ca970c48f.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Cal Thomas","prologue":"Tony Hall served in Congress for nearly 24 years, representing Ohio's 3rd District. The Democrat left in 2002 to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, appointed by President George W. Bush. Hall laments how corrosive contemporary politics has become and tells me he couldn't get elected in today's environment. Partially, he says, it is because he is pro-life and a supporter of traditional marriage, but mainly there are at least two things that have changed for the worse since he was in Congress: \"One is that congressmen don't live (in Washington) anymore. We were told probably 15 years ago not to bring our families here, but to leave them at home. That was a mistake.\"","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["frank wolf","politics","tony hall","thomas","dr. phil","phil mcgraw","george w. bush"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"b4be5b39-4824-53d9-8b22-e5c8b8c6f59a","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"768","height":"1024","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4b/b4be5b39-4824-53d9-8b22-e5c8b8c6f59a/573a302e91089.image.jpg?resize=768%2C1024"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"133","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4b/b4be5b39-4824-53d9-8b22-e5c8b8c6f59a/5676d536b3215.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"183","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4b/b4be5b39-4824-53d9-8b22-e5c8b8c6f59a/573a302e91089.image.jpg?crop=756%2C460%2C3%2C48&resize=300%2C183&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"623","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4b/b4be5b39-4824-53d9-8b22-e5c8b8c6f59a/573a302e91089.image.jpg?crop=756%2C460%2C3%2C48"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"94ee0590-b49e-5de2-8ee1-774ca970c48f","body":"

Tony Hall served in Congress for nearly 24 years, representing Ohio's 3rd District. The Democrat left in 2002 to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, appointed by President George W. Bush.

Hall laments how corrosive contemporary politics has become and tells me he couldn't get elected in today's environment. Partially, he says, it is because he is pro-life and a supporter of traditional marriage, but mainly there are at least two things that have changed for the worse since he was in Congress: \"One is that congressmen don't live (in Washington) anymore. We were told probably 15 years ago not to bring our families here, but to leave them at home. That was a mistake.\"

Hall says that suggestion came from Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Democrats followed \"and they shouldn't have.\"

The reasoning behind that, he says, is that members felt getting elected was the most important thing, \"so they come in Monday night, or Tuesday morning, and leave Thursday. They don't know each other and then run against Washington. They don't build relationships, wives don't know each other; the men don't know each other.\" Their families suffer, he says, because they aren't spending enough time with them and the country suffers because they don't spend much time with each other.

The second change is members of Congress no longer travel overseas as much as they once did. They fear their trips might be labeled \"junkets,\" which some were, so they don't acquire the necessary knowledge of other countries, nor do they get to know each other from spending time together.

Then there's the extravagant amounts of money that must be raised to win re-election. This requires that members of Congress take time to \"dial for dollars\" by going to their respective party headquarters and spending two or more hours a day asking for donations.

Hall and former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) have developed a rare friendship that began when they served in Congress together and which continues today. Hall says the key to their relationship has been their common Christian faith: \"When you pray together it's pretty difficult to go out on the House floor and denounce the other person.\" They didn't talk politics in their meetings and meals for the first two years \"because that would have divided us.\"

What difference does this make when it comes to legislation one party supports and the other opposes?

\"Over a period of time,\" Hall says, \"you begin to trust one another and when you trust one another you find you do have common ground.\" In addition to pro-life and traditional marriage, he lists hunger issues and gambling as subjects about which they have similar views. This led, he says, to his contributing to Wolf's re-election campaigns, which angered some of his Democratic colleagues. Asked if Wolf reciprocated, Hall laughs and says, \"I don't think so, but he had tougher races than I did.\"

Dr. Phil McGraw, a psychologist and host of the syndicated TV show \"Dr. Phil,\" echoed Hall in an essay he wrote for Variety in January. McGraw offered this advice to Congress: \"Stop fighting with and trying to trip up the other side. Start doing only those things that help people. Stop the games, the obstruction, the chest pounding and the 'my party is better than your party' stuff. Stop treating voters like idiots and start doing your job: Working for us. From our point of view, there is only one side.

Maybe the answer to the dysfunction in Washington is mandatory therapy from Dr. Phil and testimonies from Tony Hall and Frank Wolf on what the results can look like. Nothing else seems to be working.

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Q.Some convenience stores refuse to accept the return of containers. How is it legal for these stores to do this if they sell the container, such as pop cans, pop bottles, etc.? \u2014\u00a0Reader

A.We contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to find out. Spokesperson Alex Murphy responded:

\"Unless it has a so-called 'approved' redemption center as certified by the Department of Natural Resources, any store's refusal to redeem empties of the kinds, sizes and brands it sells is a simple misdemeanor under Iowa Code sections 455C.2, 455C.3, and 455C.12; minimum $65 fine according to Iowa Code section 903.1(1)(a). Citations for simple misdemeanors are issued by the local police &/or sheriff's department when a person files a complaint with them.

\"The Iowa DNR has no enforcement powers in these matters.

\"Attached is the Iowa Code and Admin Rules.\"

To view the Iowa Code and Administrative Rules provided by the Iowa DNR, visit qctimes.com/askthetimes.

Q.On Monday, March 6, in the Quad-City Times, I read the Blue Grass City Council minutes, and they mentioned in there that the newly elected Sheriff Tim Lane's deputies will not respond to non-emergency calls in rural communities such as Blue Grass, Buffalo, Walcott, LeClaire, Princeton, etc. So, there are no officers on duty. Why won't they respond? What happened to the former Scott County Sheriff Chief Deputy, Thomas Gibbs, when he (Sheriff Lane) appointed two new chief deputies? \u2014\u00a0Don, Clinton, Iowa

A.The item you referenced was a legal notice that appeared on Monday, March 6, 2017, on pages B5 and B6 in the Quad-City Times. It appeared in the comments and future agenda section of the Blue Grass City Council minutes. To view the full minutes, visitqctimes.com/askthetimes.

We contacted Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane for a response to your questions. Lane responded:

\"I am not sure how this information was passed on to the Blue Grass City Council. I have not made any changes as to handling calls in rural towns. On the second topic, Tom Gibbs returned to his previous civil service rank of sergeant.\"

Follow-up file:

Q. What was the cost to taxpayers to hold the two recent special elections in Scott County? \u2014\u00a0Lynne

A.Richard Bauer, Scott County election supervisor, responded to her question on Jan. 31, 2017. At that time, all receipts for both elections had not come in. We contacted the Scott County Auditor's Office again on March 14, 2017. Roxanna Moritz, county auditor and elections commissioner, responded:

\"Here are the figures for the last two elections:

\"Senate District #45 $28,258.28

\"House District #89 $12,308.38\"

"}, {"id":"d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae","type":"article","starttime":"1490770800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-29T02:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490807463","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Mendoza ditched campaign pledge","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-mendoza-ditched-campaign-pledge/article_d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-mendoza-ditched-campaign-pledge/article_d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"Like a good Illinois Democrat, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza rolled over. Mendoza had two choices last week after a court ordered her to pay state lawmakers when no budget exists: Immediately appeal or cave. She chose the latter.\u00a0 To be fair, Mendoza's office finally filed a notice stating its intent to appeal on Tuesday.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["susana mendoza","politics","institutes","parliament","lawmaker","lack","campaign","michael madigan","illinois","legislator"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506","description":"","byline":"Heidi Jo Brady","hireswidth":1820,"hiresheight":2730,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0ac3ef7.hires.jpg","presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1175","height":"1762","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=1175%2C1762"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"150","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=100%2C150"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"450","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=300%2C450"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1536","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1536"}}}],"revision":14,"commentID":"d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae","body":"

Like a good Illinois Democrat, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza rolled over.

Mendoza had two choices last week after a court ordered her to pay state lawmakers when no budget exists: Immediately appeal or cave. She chose the latter.\u00a0

To be fair, Mendoza's office finally filed a notice stating its intent to appeal on Tuesday.

But Mendoza immediately started issuing lawmakers' paychecks following a ruling in Cook County ordering the release of lamakers' paychecks. Mendoza didn't come up with the idea to withhold paychecks for the very people responsible for Illinois' two-year fiscal dumpster fire. Her GOP predecessor, Leslie Munger, died on that hill. Former Gov. Pat Quinn made a go at it, too.\u00a0

Quinn couldn't ram the legalization through House Speaker Michael Madigan, a man who concurrently lords over the General Assembly and Illinois Democratic Party.\u00a0

Munger's entire campaign was built around the slogan \"No budget, no pay.\" Mendoza co-opted it, too. It's good, populist politics in a state that hasn't actually functioned in almost 700 days. And hitting the Legislature itself squarely in the wallet is probably the only way Illinois' credit-busting impasse ends anytime soon.\u00a0

Mendoza's seemingly hollow words, however, flew in the face of her party's don't-rock-the-boat policy, which cares only for 2018's gubernatorial race to the detriment of actual governance.\u00a0

The proof is in Mendoza's non-reaction. She could have fought back. She could have requested an immediate stay.

Nope.

Mendoza's actions don't square with her campaign rhetoric.

It's tiresome to repeatedly run through the ills that plague the state with the lowest credit rating in the nation. It's frustrating to continually write about Illinois' collapsing pension system, failing tax structure and political grandstanding that sacrifices electoral victories for even basic governance.

But it's all true.

Billions worth of bills are still unpaid. The grownups in Illinois Senate can't hammer out a bipartisan budget deal. Gov. Bruce Rauner has displayed a striking lack of political chops. Speaker Madigan's stranglehold on all things Illinois just won't yield. Union ownership of Illinois' ruling party. And yet, lawmakers still think they should get paid, while so many others aren't.\u00a0

Withholding paychecks for legislators doesn't have the best record in the courts. The Legislature lacks the moral compass to put anyone else ahead of itself. So, Illinois staggers along after attaining a dubious distinction that even New York and California avoided in the past decade.\u00a0

Illinois is a failed state.

Mendoza might lose should she push the issue to an appellate court. But even a stay of the Cook County ruling, if granted, would apply continued pressure to lawmakers who have proven themselves deaf to their constituents. For a time, it would force legislators to share the burden they have heaped on everyone else. It would show that Illinois' comptroller isn't just another pawn of the Democratic machine.

Mendoza's lack of action so far suggests she's just another slave to Madigan's Chicago Democrats.

Seek a stay, Ms. Mendoza. Anything less will verify our suspicions.\u00a0

Correction: The original draft incorrectly stated Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan role in the case. The lawsuit was brought by lawmakers.\u00a0

"}, {"id":"b6d74de7-2951-58ab-9db3-96225eb27075","type":"article","starttime":"1490769000","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-29T01:30:00-05:00","sections":[{"guest":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Guest view: Iowa's tax code is unfair, anti-business","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/article_b6d74de7-2951-58ab-9db3-96225eb27075.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/guest-view-iowa-s-tax-code-is-unfair-anti-business/article_b6d74de7-2951-58ab-9db3-96225eb27075.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/guest-view-iowa-s-tax-code-is-unfair-anti-business/article_b6d74de7-2951-58ab-9db3-96225eb27075.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Ron Corbett","prologue":"Last week, we read of our state\u2019s fiscal year 2017 budget revenue shortfall of nearly $250 million. This week we heard the news that 73 of our 99 counties have declined in population with more than half of our population living in just 10 counties. Iowa is the only state in the nation that has not doubled in population since 1900. We are growing at a sluggish rate of 2.89 percent.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["tax rate","economics","finance","tax code","revenue","tax system","iowa","state","income"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"ff324e3b-037d-5bf9-9249-93e598e1ba08","description":"Ron Corbett","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"336","height":"415","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/f3/ff324e3b-037d-5bf9-9249-93e598e1ba08/58583f1988009.image.jpg?resize=336%2C415"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"124","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/f3/ff324e3b-037d-5bf9-9249-93e598e1ba08/58583f1988009.image.jpg?resize=100%2C124"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"371","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/f3/ff324e3b-037d-5bf9-9249-93e598e1ba08/58583f1988009.image.jpg?resize=300%2C371"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1265","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/f3/ff324e3b-037d-5bf9-9249-93e598e1ba08/58583f1988009.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"b6d74de7-2951-58ab-9db3-96225eb27075","body":"

Last week, we read of our state\u2019s fiscal year 2017 budget revenue shortfall of nearly $250 million. This week we heard the news that 73 of our 99 counties have declined in population with more than half of our population living in just 10 counties. Iowa is the only state in the nation that has not doubled in population since 1900. We are growing at a sluggish rate of 2.89 percent.

Iowa's budgetary woes paired with its stagnant population growth are all symptoms of a slow-growth state.

Iowa is suffering from sub-par economic growth and reduced long-term potential for growth. Iowa\u2019s tax system is overly complex and no longer equitable. Years of tax breaks and tax credits has cluttered our tax code. The fundamental purpose of an overhaul of our system would be to simplify our tax code, while improving economic growth and job creation.

This legislative session marks the 20th anniversary of the last income tax cut that we as Iowans have seen. As speaker of the Iowa House in 1997, I spearheaded the effort to update Iowa\u2019s income tax system. In that year, we successfully cut Iowa\u2019s income taxes across the board by 10 percent. History indicates that there have only been a handful of tax overhauls of the modern code, which emphasizes tax reform as a profoundly challenging event. Albeit it difficult, tax modernization is necessary to help position the state for any future growth.

With our current state of economic need, Iowa is in need of sweeping, yet responsible tax modernization. Any update to our code must meet three key criteria:

1. Fair \u2013 Our system is no longer fair. We must work to simplify the code as the current process hurts the middle income and lower income earner. Our state has 13 different income brackets and countless deductions; would like to see two tiers with very limited deductions.

2. Simple \u2013 According to the Tax Foundation, the Iowa income tax return has only three fewer lines than the federal tax form. As a small state with a population of 3 million people, our tax returns need to be shorter than what is being offered by the IRS. Our tax code is made even more complex as our state isn\u2019t coupling with the federal code; adding more discrepancies between the state and federal tax code.

3. Competitive \u2013 Everyone recognizes our personal income tax rate of 8.98 percent is too high. It's the fourth highest among U.S. states. All credits and deductions are hurting our state and ultimately leaves Iowa uncompetitive. We need to think beyond special interests for the overall financial health of the state.

Iowa has high marginal tax rates on personal incomes. Based on research from economists at Iowa State University, the high marginal rates deter businesses from investing in Iowa and that has reduced average income by about 2.65 percent. The high income tax rate has caused a net outflow of high earners to states such as South Dakota and Texas. This outflow has cost the state $3.89 billion.

So what will the news hold for us next week and in the years to come?

Our state will continue to see a budget challenge unless changes are made soon. We cannot continue to do the same if we want to grow. A more simple, neutral, efficient, equitable and transparent tax system can help Iowans, our employers, and the economy. The plan must be conducive to growth as our state works to generate new revenue. The state can have a significant impact on the quality of life for Iowans by lowering income tax rates. As we explore the options of tax modernization, we want to ensure that the state builds a responsible tax system for a diversified economy and positions itself as a destination for investment, entrepreneurs, and talented individuals in the years ahead.

"}, {"id":"edaf860c-021a-5ecc-b476-8e646b3e68d0","type":"article","starttime":"1490684400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-28T02:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490715904","sections":[{"jon-alexander":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jon-alexander"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Alexander: Winning never looked so bad","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jon-alexander/article_edaf860c-021a-5ecc-b476-8e646b3e68d0.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jon-alexander/alexander-winning-never-looked-so-bad/article_edaf860c-021a-5ecc-b476-8e646b3e68d0.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/jon-alexander/alexander-winning-never-looked-so-bad/article_edaf860c-021a-5ecc-b476-8e646b3e68d0.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Jon Alexander\nEditorial Page Editor","prologue":"So much winning. Obviously, President Donald Trump's brand of victory is so above a lowly plebe like me, that I can't even identify it for what it is. Clearly, last week's monumental collapse of the GOP's health care bill was, somehow, an incredible victory. What else could it be? Trump's a winner.\u00a0","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["donald trump","institutes","public and administrative law","republicans","barack obama","politics","white house","caucus","legislation","domestic policy"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"personality","images":[{"id":"82bec63e-cf72-5b85-a998-5b198a6cb8f3","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"720","height":"1019","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/2b/82bec63e-cf72-5b85-a998-5b198a6cb8f3/573103b5b7ccb.image.jpg?resize=720%2C1019"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"141","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/2b/82bec63e-cf72-5b85-a998-5b198a6cb8f3/567963934788e.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"425","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/2b/82bec63e-cf72-5b85-a998-5b198a6cb8f3/573103b5b7ccb.image.jpg?resize=300%2C425"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1449","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/2b/82bec63e-cf72-5b85-a998-5b198a6cb8f3/573103b5b7ccb.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"edaf860c-021a-5ecc-b476-8e646b3e68d0","body":"

So much winning.

Obviously, President Donald Trump's brand of victory is so above a lowly plebe like me, that I can't even identify it for what it is. Clearly, last week's monumental collapse of the GOP's health care bill was, somehow, an incredible victory. What else could it be? Trump's a winner.\u00a0

We'd win so much under a Trump administration that we'd get sick of it, he boasted on the campaign trail. Legislation to \"repeal and replace\" President Barack Obama's defining domestic policy would be in the works \"immediately\" after he took office. Not day 64. Not day 100.\u00a0

Day one.

Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. If they can't govern in this environment, they can't govern at all.\u00a0

Nearly 70 days into Trump's presidency and that nebulous \"plan\" to defeat the Islamic State is little more than a ramp-up of Obama's policy. His Muslim ban -- er, travel ban -- can't survive a courtroom. Recently, the president blamed Fox News for his outright lie that asserted Obama employed British intelligence to spy on his campaign. Yes, the man whose words carry more weight -- at least they did -- than just about anyone else on the planet is pointing fingers at a friendly news network because he can't be bothered to do any real research.

Trump has accomplished essentially nil aside from a few executive orders that gut environmental regulations. That and, well, offending ally after ally in record time.\u00a0

Man, isn't winning awesome?

Earlier this month, Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told a pro-Trump crowd that the president is \"doing exactly what he said he would.\" It's become a common refrain. And many now saying it are the very same people who cautioned voters prior to the election to \"not take Trump literally.\"

This cognitive dissonance continues to persist. Trump's tweets shouldn't be \"taken literally,\" Republicans say. And yet, the president \"means what he says.\"

Don't forget that, recently, the head of the FBI, under oath, told Congress that, if \"taken literally,\" Trump's claims were bogus. How's that a win, exactly?

Trump's draft federal budget probably won't be much of a win, either, since its all but DOA. For example, it takes aim at the Midwesterners who helped him upset Hillary Clinton in Michigan and Wisconsin. The health of the Great Lakes and its fisheries are of huge importance. And, yet, programs to combat invasive species would be gutted by Trump's non-starter of a wishlist.\u00a0

The same is true for the failed health care bill. It was Trump's white, working class base that would have borne the brunt of bill championed by Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, said reports by the Congressional Budget Office and Kaiser Foundation.\u00a0

Trump never bothered to learn the issue. He left the real work to his merry band of warring advisers. The harder they worked to placate the GOP's right flank, namely the House Freedom Caucus, the more they agitated Trump's center. The legislation was doomed in the Senate, even if it had survived the House.

It's a damning sign of weakness from the self-described world's best deal-maker, a man whose entire political persona hinges on twisted machismo.

Immediately upon the bill's demise on Friday, Trump, true to form, lashed out at Democrats, until now a feckless group.

Over the weekend, he turned his wrath on the Freedom Caucus, which includes Iowa's Rod Blum. Interesting strategy. While small, the Freedom Caucus wields outsized power. And, in its opposition, Freedom Caucus members proclaimed a total lack of fear of Trump.\u00a0

Politico and The Washington Post reported over the weekend that, internally, Trump's scorn was focused on Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.\u00a0

Nowhere has Trump accepted any personal responsibility for an objectively devastating defeat. Not once has he indicated that, just maybe, he underestimated the complexity of the politics at play.\u00a0

I guess winners blame everyone but themselves.\u00a0

"}, {"id":"763ba631-9f14-5441-9e18-5f7119d98283","type":"article","starttime":"1490682600","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-28T01:30:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490726283","sections":[{"guest":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Guest view: Consumers lose if Iowa alcohol laws are gutted","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/article_763ba631-9f14-5441-9e18-5f7119d98283.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/guest-view-consumers-lose-if-iowa-alcohol-laws-are-gutted/article_763ba631-9f14-5441-9e18-5f7119d98283.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/guest/guest-view-consumers-lose-if-iowa-alcohol-laws-are-gutted/article_763ba631-9f14-5441-9e18-5f7119d98283.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Nathan Cooper","prologue":"Next time you\u2019re at the grocery store, take a minute to study the options. How many brands of soup? Of cereal? Of soda pop? Then, walk down the alcohol aisles. Beer, wine and spirits of national, regional and local origin abound. Alcohol selections enjoyed by your grandfather, your mother and your friends are easy to find. In fact, Iowa consumers have access to thousands of different labels.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["alcohol","commerce","economics","marketing","supplier","market","consumer","retailer","regulator","iowa"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"0ca9875c-d4e4-5c10-951f-2566c62c98a9","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"337","height":"337","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ca/0ca9875c-d4e4-5c10-951f-2566c62c98a9/58d91d3d269a0.image.jpg?resize=337%2C337"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"100","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ca/0ca9875c-d4e4-5c10-951f-2566c62c98a9/58d91d3d269a0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C100"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"300","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ca/0ca9875c-d4e4-5c10-951f-2566c62c98a9/58d91d3d269a0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C300"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1024","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ca/0ca9875c-d4e4-5c10-951f-2566c62c98a9/58d91d3d269a0.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":9,"commentID":"763ba631-9f14-5441-9e18-5f7119d98283","body":"

Next time you\u2019re at the grocery store, take a minute to study the options. How many brands of soup? Of cereal? Of soda pop?

Then, walk down the alcohol aisles. Beer, wine and spirits of national, regional and local origin abound. Alcohol selections enjoyed by your grandfather, your mother and your friends are easy to find. In fact, Iowa consumers have access to thousands of different labels.

This selection is brought to you by Iowa\u2019s brand of alcohol market regulation, primarily known as the three-tier distribution system and its cornerstone anti-corruption and anti-monopoly component, tied house protection.

A key contributor to the buy-local movement, Iowa\u2019s alcohol policy encourages locally-owned alcohol operations. It\u2019s no accident there are nearly 800 eastern Iowans employed in beer distribution alone.

The law provides protections for each tier \u2013 retailers, distributors and manufacturers \u2013 from undue influence by any other tier. Distributors buy only what can be reasonably sold and have market-based incentives to merchandise what\u2019s popular. Bars and restaurants that sell only one manufacturer\u2019s soft drinks can offer hundreds of beers, wines and spirits without fear of targeted price hikes or lackluster service.

Tied-house protections also contain exceptions for manufacturers to establish brands with taprooms or cocktail rooms at the manufacturing site to promote their products and provide a consumer experience. The net result is that Iowans are hard-pressed to find a deficiency in choice and availability.

During Iowa\u2019s recent alcohol policy review, we heard from nearly every segment of the industry that Iowa\u2019s laws are generally good for commerce. A chain retailer operating in several states said Iowa\u2019s laws are \u201cretailer-friendly.\u201d Some of Iowa\u2019s biggest liquor suppliers submitted that Iowa is a forward-thinking place to do business while some brewers said aspects of Iowa law are too liberal.

Iowa\u2019s chief alcohol regulator paid lip service supporting the three-tier system but recently advocated publicly to weaken tied-house protections. Logically, a robust three-tier system and a weak tied-house law are mutually exclusive. It\u2019s impossible to have both.

With more consumer choice than ever, more retail space dedicated to alcohol than ever and more Iowa manufacturers than ever, who are the victims of Iowa\u2019s tied-house protections? Specifics are light.

Rather than advocating seismic shifts in an orderly marketplace that is clearly working for Iowa industry, consumers and the public interest, alcohol regulators should focus on enforcing laws that ensure a level playing field and industry-wide compliance with regard to excise taxes, fair trade practices and safe, responsible and legal sales.

So what if Iowa abandoned tied-house protections?

Consumers would be the first losers. Favorite beers, wines and spirits \u2013 big and small \u2013 could be excluded from aisles, tap lines, refrigerated spaces or entire stores altogether.

Increasingly, money would undermine merit-based shelf and tap access. Exclusive agreements and inducements would give retailers incentives to hit volume targets, nudging up consumption. Absentee-manufacturers calling shots at the retail level become more likely to disregard contemporary community standards and norms. Precisely the practice tied-house protections are designed to prevent.

Wide market access and consumer choice in this industry is because of Iowa\u2019s three-tier system and its tied-house protections, not despite them. Let\u2019s maintain Iowa\u2019s free houses and keep the tied house a pre-Prohibition relic.

"} ]